-I am ready for the elections and if I am defeated as a candidate I will exit in grace, he says

By M.A. Egge

The President of the Republic of Somaliland H.E. Musa Bihi Abdi stated that the agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia is a tangible MoU which would formally vouch for the nation’s sovereignty will be signed by both countries for the implementation of the agreement and the recognition of Somaliland.

The president of Somaliland emphatically gave the facts during an exclusive interview he gave the SLNTV at prime time on Tuesday.

The interview that was conducted by veteran media personality Hussein Abdillahi Deeqsi also shade light on Somalia’s hostility towards Somaliland, the issues of elections and the elections law technical impasse that has just been sent back the Senate.

President Muse Bihi also responded to threats from the Egyptian President.

The excerpts from the full interview went as follows:-

Q: Your Excellency Mr. President, I would like you to give us an update on the agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia.

A: The agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia was an agreement which had the interests of both countries heart. Every president serves only the interest of his people. Ethiopia is a landlocked country with the largest population in the Horn of Africa, and its economy, is growing rapidly hence we know that it has longed to find a port.

Somaliland has been seeking recognition for thirty years. So when we talked, he (Abiy Ahmed) needed a sea and we recognized that.

It is on the mutual interest they get a base and we acquire our justified sovereignty given that they (Ethiopia) becomes the first nation recognize Somaliland.

And as per the agreement, both points are executed simultaneously. Those two articles are the basis of the agreement and the rest concerns diverse of cooperation in the economy, security, social sectors and climate change.

Q: The government of Somalia always alleges that they control all the seas of Somaliland, what do you have to say about that?

A: They (Somalia) know it that they do not and the world knows it; until 1991, when the former union government of the 1960s collapsed, Somaliland built its own government, and they (Somalia) separately built theirs. All our elections to the presidency are through universal suffrage but hey choose their president though the parliament we are totally separate states which are two different entities with different set of constitutions.

We chart our own affairs with the rest of the world just as they have their own course. They only live in illusions and sell to the world that we would re-unite in the future!

Q: Mr. President, we are told that when you met Hassan Sheikh in Djibouti before you went to Ethiopia, he agreed that you were two countries that united in 1960. Can you elaborate?

A: No one denies that history, not only him, but everyone knows, but he (Hasan Sheikh) is the one who is clinging to the dream that since we once united we shall forever be bound together quite oblivious to the fact that the unity was disbanded when we revered to our prior 1960 independence and sovereignty as a nation.

Q: The President of Egypt made threatening statements at the Arab league, how does this affect Somaliland?

A: The Arab league issued a resolution; Sisi (President of Egypt) said he will defend Somalia’s borders. The borders of Somalia and the so called unity stated in the two resolutions, if viewed legally, is as per the African Union Charter which is based on the fact that Somaliland is one of the foremost African countries based on traditional borders and Egypt is one of the signatories. The Arab governments that were free at that time know this. The question is which is the real Somalia border that is ought to be defended?
How could the Arab nations purport to wage war far away in Africa in dubious circumstances of defending an ally given that they could/can not handle the Gaza affairs in their own backyard?

The Arab governments could not even do as much as South Africa has done when it brought the Gaza case before the ICC, they could not do even that. When they talk about the borders of Somalia, are they talking about the borders of Italy, they know quite well that (the ill-fated union) was destroyed and separation happened in 1991. The Arabs themselves sponsored dialogues but to their chagrin Somalia has always undermined them.
From the military’s muscle point of view, what is happening in Rafah is the one that needs such help that they (Arabs) should direct to. I only deem their talks are just rhetoric.
Q: Many people still do not understand this agreement between Somaliland and Ethiopia, for example, businessmen believe that their businesses will be harmed, can you dispel that?

A: such notions are from those who fail to see things vividly; the fact is quite clear since the base will be leased to the Ethiopian navy. Our trade, our customs and the port of Somaliland belong to us cannot be interfered with. It is agreed that Ethiopia’s imports and exports should go through the port of Berbera.

There is no merchandise or goods to go through the leased base. So I think that the party that opposes the agreement is only peddling the Somalia insinuations since the matter is clear. People who naively say that infidels are taking over us are claims by extremists. The Somalis living in Ethiopia are the third largest ethnic group after the Amharas and Oromos. You see the development of the Somali region of Ethiopia in the last twenty years.
Horn of Africa ports today is oriented towards clinching the most market deals from Ethiopia. The ports of Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti are competing for it. So I’m saying that there are a lot of business opportunities and closer bilateral relations that are going to be realized by these ventures.
We have built such a port (Berbera) while targeting Ethiopian markets and the agreement should contribute to bolstering and fledgling of just that venture.

Q: Mr. President does the agreement vouch for Ethiopia recognizing Somaliland as an independent country?

A: Yes, the official declaration upon signing the treaty of the agreement will clearly spell out that Ethiopia recognizes Somaliland as a nation.
It would be contained in the same dossier hence signatures will be appended as two governments in agreement.

Q: The agreements between Somaliland and Somalia have all been reneged by Somalia. Can you tell us about them?
A: There were many, the one that is often discussed is how to manage bilateral economy. When ICAO was being transferred from Somaliland and Somalia, they signed an agreement that we should take over from ICAO and share them. Due to some failure of being not vigilant on our part as Somaliland, the non-recognition status had us short-circuited in the deal. This is similar to all international grants over the last three decades that we never received our shares, save for only a sole educational grant.
It is a raw deal if you enter into an agreement with them while they recognized and we are not, nothing becomes tangible. What Hassan Sheikh has expressed and depicted in Somalia now makes things clear as has now been witnessed, since they have gone berserk when they heard about the Somaliland-Ethiopia MoU agreement; I think if they had any military capabilities he would have immediately attacked us.
Q: The long coast of Somaliland has never had any acts of piracy, and whereas Somalia claims rule over it, what is your take on this?

A: That claim holds no water since it’s not in their backyard and the past union had crumbled whereby Somaliland re-asserted its independence.
Q: President, there is an election law for legislative councils, especially the House of Representatives. Lawyers and the opposition say that the president rejected that law and returned it to the Senate. What about it?
A: This matter is between the two chambers, our parliament is a bi-cameral august house. Our parliament is divided into two houses, upper and lower, the upper is the Senate and the lower is the House of the Representatives. When the two chambers meet, they are chaired by the Speaker of the Senate. Every law goes through three stages, the one who creates it is the executive council (Government) or if one of the two councils creates it, the one who creates it forwards it to the other two councils. If the two councils pass a law, they will submit it to me, so I (the President) will check if it is in accordance with the constitution, if it is not in accordance with the constitution, I will resend it.
If the two houses of the parliament are together and if they vote with two thirds, I cannot resend it, but if I see that it is wrong, I will send it to the Supreme Court for directions. This bill has just been submitted by the House of Representatives, and before I delved into it a letter from the Speaker of the House of Parliament asked that the bill is reverted to them since it had not undergone complete due processes.
I returned it to them such that they may thrash the differences attributed. If they at last return it to me for en-action, and it is as per constitution, I would do the necessary obligations, and if the president fails to do so in 21 days it becomes law by default.

This is nothing to confuse people and not an issue to make fuss about. So leave the debate between the two houses of parliament. Let those in the opposition who cry foul wait for the due process to be completed.
Q: The presidential election is due at the end of this year, and you are a candidate while the people are alleging that that the president’s term is getting longer, what do you say to that?
A: Those are flimsy claims. Those who were purporting to want swift elections happen to be the ones that are impeding the momentum.
Initially demos that were chaotic and had fracas that fatally claimed nine lives was focused on opposition of opening the political associations and as far as the new law is concerned I did not expect them to again tamper with the amendments made by the senate.

The elders who intervened on the issue of the law was mainly for the fact that the political organizations do not enter presidential race something that has been appended in the elections law. It was only or them to forward the bill.
I will tell you another thing that is not a secret about the two opposition parties that are currently being chaotic. We did compete in 2017 and we defeated them. Am ready for the elections and I’ll be in the race and would leave gracefully if I am defeated; but it is WADDANI that has been hollering that they must win by hook or crook come the elections.
I say justifiably you may win, but crookedly you won’t.

Q: Mr. President, what is your final message to the people of Somaliland?
A: I am grateful to the people of Somaliland. They are strong and noble people. They are patriots who sacrificed everything for their freedom and independence. From 1981 to 1991 they sacrificed their lives and money for their country. In four months of 1988, the United Nations recorded that 50 thousand civilians were killed by the Somali government.
Our people defend their nationhood and I applaud them for that, I say that we should adhere to the set our rules and regulations in our constitution and follow them.
We must observe the sacredness of the laws of religion and those of our tenets. I will add that if we disagree at all, we must protect the common good and interests that bind us together as a nation.